The 10 Laws of Learning by Steven Rudolph
The 10 Laws of Learning provides parents with a simple set of all-encompassing rules that help parents tackle behavior problems.
What inspired you to write this book?
As an educator, my goal is to help individuals understand themselves and figure out how to achieve their potential. Over the years, I have learned that so much of a person’s ability to know who they are and to excel in life depends significantly on how well their parents raised them. I have also learned that many parents lack knowledge about how to do so effectively. And while there are a number of books available that are meant for guiding mothers and fathers, there are very few resources created specifically for Indian parents. Most of the parenting books you find in stores here are imported. They are written for American parents—and their context is completely different from the Indian one. After living in India for 15 years, and working with so many children and parents, I felt parents here would majorly benefit from a book that was tailor made for them.
According to you, what is the one problem parents 'today' face?
If I go by the majority of phone calls and emails that come to me, it’s ‘memory and concentration.’ I’d say at least 70% of those who contact me complain that their children have a hard time focusing on their studies and remembering what they study. My laws on planning, goals, practice, and learning techniques address this problem comprehensively and can bring about a sea change in kids’ abilities to focus and remember what they’ve learned.
What are the key requisites a parent needs to pay attention to while dealing with their children?
First is unconditional love—that almost goes without saying. However parents need to learn how to express that love in ways that don’t inadvertently spoil their children. The next is patience. Many parents don’t understand why their children just won’t learn after they have tried to teach them something dozens of times. They need to realise that the brain is incredibly complex and it takes time to develop—especially the executive center (the part responsible for controlling behaviour, decision making and problem solving). Next is being a role model. Children will do as you do, and not as you say. So if you are watching 3 hours or more of TV per day, or have poor eating habits, you shouldn’t be surprised if they do not follow your requests to limit their viewing or junk food habit. I also can’t stress enough the importance of consistency—demonstrating regular, reliable behaviour—especially in when it comes to fostering discipline. There are many such points, as well as techniques that I have covered in each of the chapters.
How did you go about writing this book? In terms of research etc.
About 3 years ago, I decided to write a book on how to create effective learning environments for children. This drew off of my many years of experience in the classroom, counseling work with children and parents, and extensive reading about education, learning, psychology and neuroscience. Mr. Manbir Bedi of Primary Plus was extremely supportive of my work and promoted my workshops for teachers and parents throughout the country. This enabled me to receive extensive inputs from my target audience—they considered my ideas, tried them out, and sent me lots of feedback. I further shared my work with leaders in various fields, including Dr. Satya Narayana Das (Director, Jiva Culture), who is an expert in Sanskrit and Vedic studies. He helped me validate my work keeping in mind India’s 5,000 year old knowledge systems. Similarly, Dr. Partap Chauhan (Director, Jiva Ayurveda), provided insights from the field of Ayurveda, which I drew off of in the sections related to health and diet. After that, it was 7 months of hard work writing, thinking, and synthesizing. In the end, I think I was able to effectively bring together the various elements of Eastern science, Western science and practical experience in a way that offers a unique perspective on how Indian parents can create ideal environments for their children.
In your book, you list out ten laws of learning. What is the most important law a parent needs to keep in mind?
While all the laws are important, I think Law 2 (Teach your children to believe in themselves) is of special significance. The primary goal of education is to get children to take responsibility for their learning processes and their lives, and this can be achieved by helping them develop a strong sense of self. The three main aspects of this task are indentifying the unique abilities and strengths of their personalities (Multiple Intelligences and Multiple Natures), cultivating their decision-making skills, and guiding them to establish positive relationships with others.
Kids these days are smarter and more savvy, does that make parenting a difficult task in the 21st century?
Absolutely. Children master technology quickly—especially things like controlling the TV, using computers, social networking, digital games, using cellphones, and so on. Without a doubt they are much more informed than kids of the past, and in many ways they outpace their own parents in certain domains. As a result, kids often do not accept parents as absolute authorities, and this causes parents a tremendous amount of frustration when they want their kids to do what they say simply ‘because they are the parent and their children are the children.’ Parents therefore need to learn to take on roles as guides or friends in order for them to get children to behave in ways they find acceptable. And that’s a tough challenge—finding the right balance between being friendly and being strict. They must also be able to provide logical reasons for just about everything. However, as they learn to do this, things do become easier.
Who do you wish for your book to reach out to?
Indian parents with children of all ages—specifically in the range of 5-15 years. Parents who live in more urbanized, nuclear settings, and who and who are not easily finding the guidance they need in raising their kids. I especially thought about those parents who grew up in joint families, and less urbanized settings, who are facing a completely different scenario—where their past experience and advice from their own parents do not readily apply to their children’s modern world. The book can also be of huge value to teachers of students in this age group.
Are there any other books in the pipeline?
I would very much love to do sequels to The 10 Laws of Learning—for students, for teachers, for business people, and so on. I think the framework has tremendous potential for application for different audiences and for specific domains. I also have plans for a book on my Multiple Natures Theory. However, just as with having children, I believe you should let the first one get on its feet and be sufficiently nurtured before going on to the next one.
Steven Rudolph’s book The 10 Laws of Learning is available in all leading book stores.